Warlords of Pez and The Rubberbandits, Twisted Pepper


Posted on 15th Jun 09 by | comments 14

Trying to be good, I didn’t really want to like Friday night’s Twisted Pepper support act Rubberbandits, who take the piss out of the IRA and prance around with plastic bags on their heads. As someone who’s had years of “What?” thrown back like the crack of the century, naturally I’m not gonna think slagging […]

rubberbandits-tp-nma15Trying to be good, I didn’t really want to like Friday night’s Twisted Pepper support act Rubberbandits, who take the piss out of the IRA and prance around with plastic bags on their heads. As someone who’s had years of “What?” thrown back like the crack of the century, naturally I’m not gonna think slagging deaf people is funny. And also, hailing from SUV Stab City, Limerick rappers tend to leave a rank taste.

Rubberbandits pranced out like total dickheads, pointing and spilling beer froth everywhere. One fella was naked except for a leather jacket and crusty pants, sporting a Stetson and shades over his mask, and you get the impression he’s what David Carradine must have looked like at his fateful last breath. The other fella just looks like an armed robber, dressed in a wifebeater and tatty trackies, complete with scrawls of ‘DOGS‘ and ‘HASH‘ on his biceps.

you get the impression he’s what David Carradine must have looked like at his fateful last breath

Musically they’re cool in a novelty way. I reckon there’s a shelf-life on their masks. However Irish people aren’t cut out for emceeing so you don’t often catch decent Hip Hop on the home circuit. The ‘Bandits must have spent years getting monged in each other’s gaffs and it shows as they rapped against each other with ease, although a little slurry at times. That might just have been the cans of Tuborg though. Backed up by a DJ, their set was bassy and ballsy with the boys at the front sweating testosterone and roaring along to Too Many Gee.
As a lone female at the sexist Warlords of Pez‘ MEN ONLY show, disguised by a fake moustache, I realised there was nothing serious about any of this: just a Guy Thing. Fuck fannies, hearing aids and principles, you’ve gotta laugh and sing along: “Ooh, aah, up the ‘Ra…

best-warlordsofpez-tp-nma04The Pez, now…hadn’t performed in ages, held in somewhat mystical high-esteem as cranky dictators of a clandestine rock Illuminati, known for bizarre costumes and to some of my friends, purveyors of the worst Irish album ever.
I’d heard the same album and didn’t think much of it. Bit fucking childish isn’t it, to sing about shit? Yet, when this gig was announced, I knew I was going. Time to put the old gig vs album trial to work.
Forewarned of black costumes looking something like West Virginia Klansmen meets Longleat Safari Park, and a collective imagination resembling a slurry pit, nonethless the sight presented on the Twisted Pepper stage was a turning point of my rock photography career. I’d never, ever been confronted with such a rampantly psychotic band. I’m all for slow-burning instrumental sets but you never realise how boring it all is until you’re faced with a kidnapped street performer strapped to a sandwich board of lyrics. Five minutes in, my face already hurt.

A shark manned the decks and a horse played bass while a baby-faced ghoul beat the drums.

Veering from short punky bursts to slow-stompers, rockabilly and metal, bursting lyrics about monster voices, snowmen, Padre Pio and of course, being a male-orientated show, loads about what total sluts women are, it was deadly. Along with the freaky Clippity-Clop and fucked-up tongue-twisting Gilly Gilly Push, the whole set was one huge display of insanity.
A shark manned the decks and a horse played bass while a baby-faced ghoul beat the drums. The guitarist reanimated from Knightmare would chill the blood of a hardened criminal, and let’s not forget the fly/bird/jellymould hybrid MC. Not to mention frontman tag-team of Power Ranger monkey and giraffe overlord.
The audience loved every second and macho adoration diffused the faces of the horde like Littluns. This was some Lord of the Flies male-bonding shit, asinine American Pie. They’d make a killing at frat parties. They screamed for the removal of shirts, to lower to the floor, to catch bananas. They’d bawl, roar, grab the stuffed cocks of their costumes and gesticulate wildly. Conspicious females were singled out for a jeer, the Rubberbandits crashed the stage and the JellyFly romped through the audience, trailing mic cable and maribou feathers.

Warlords of Pez seem transported from The Regulators, from a breach between worlds that unleashes a stream of depraved mutant pranksters into this staid lil’ scene where Gibson SGs are played by guys in t-shirts gazing at a far spot on the wall. Intermittent gigs, masks and shite albums aside,  the Pez don’t have the shelf-life problem: as a live band, the Warlords will reign supreme until there’s no more funny shit to sing about.

Warlords of Pez on MySpace
Rubberbandits on MySpace

Click here for more photos from the gig.

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14 Responses
  1. OFTR on June 15, 2009

    Difference between the two is that when I heard Rubberbandits for the first time I laughed.

    When I heard the WoP I died a little inside.

    good to see you back, Nay!

  2. Naomi McArdle on June 15, 2009

    Dare ya to laugh at the Warlords of Pez! They’d do more than just tweet you. They’d probably wear you.

  3. Marie on June 22, 2009

    Yes Clippity Clop is a freaky, surreal classic. And what’s the one that goes ‘Derek Davis, in the Pound Shop, buying deodorant.’ Excellent stuff.

  4. Paul on June 22, 2009

    Hi Naomi. Just want to say in defense of the rubber bandits, I too had imagined that they were 2 hard dudes who tended to get ‘monged in their gaffs’ on a regular basis and to be honest although I enjoyed Bag of Glue for its pop sensibilities and audacity I didn t see much depth beyond the cistern of the toilet humour which that song purveyed. Then one of my students [I lecture Irish history] sent me on a link to ‘Up The Ra’ and I thought hold on a minute this is way too clever, Ironic and down right comically perfect to be created by a pair of drunken chancers, so I went on their my space and found their explanation of what the song is about and where it came from. [The full transcript of which I ve cut and pasted below]

    A Note on “UP DA RA

    We have been getting some feedback that UP DA RA is
    offensive to Irish Republicans. I want to clear this matter up.
    Up DA RA is a piece of satire. It Satirises armchairrepublicanism. It was written from the point of view of the type of eejit who is liable to have Tiocfaidh ar la tattooed on his arm while wearing a Manchester united Jersey. It was personally inspired by a gentleman I knew who spray painted C.I.R.A on a bus stop, believing that the acronym stood for Constitutional Irish Republican Army. The writing technique implemented inUP DA RA is known as The unreliable Narrator. This is a narrative mode used by the writer to best communicate the intended message. This unreliability canbe due to psychological instability, a powerful bias, a lack of knowledge, or even a deliberate attempt to deceive the reader or audience. Some lovely examples of this technique can be found in the song Rednecks by Randy Newman


    or in the satirical piece A modest proposal by Johnathan Swift.

    So if you listen to UP DA RA literally, without exploring its subtext then it is wide open for misinterpretation. As its author, I wrote the song for a 21st century audience who are very familiar with postmodern Irony. Also, any song whereby the narrator threatens to chase the Queen of England around a field with dog shit on the end of a golf club should generally be taken with a pinch of salt. For example, If you were walking down the road and a man who talks to himself and smells heavily of piss tells you that you can use old condoms as currency, would you then save all your used condoms and try and buy a jumper with them in River Island.?? Probably not, because the mans view of society is unreliable.

    Up DA RA is intended to educate through the use of humour, because humour is a damn fine way to get your message across to someone without shoving your views down their throat. If it means even one armchair republican picking up a history book and actually understanding why they call themselves Republican then the song is a success. I personally find the level of ignorance and lack of knowledge amongst some people who call themselves republican to be offensive. It is offensive to the memory of the Irish men and women who gave their lives for basic civil rights. Armchair republicans attach themselves to a romantic image of the I.R.A brandishing Kalashnikovs as a way of making themselves look and feel tough, when it suits them. They will loudly state how they hate the brits yet have no problem supporting English football or more commonly, mimicking every aspect of British chav culture and absorbing it into their identity. I also get a bit annoyed with the student types who wear Che Guevara T-shirts without having any real interest in socialism. The T-shirts just look cool, thats it. UP DA RA has received a positive response mostly, I take this as evidence that an awful lot of people are just as annoyed with armchair republicanism as I am, because its insincere, and insincerity is a particularly annoying human trait.

    I support peaceful republicanism; I support all peaceful attempts to pursue justice where a community of any creed is downtrodden by an unfair and oppressive system. That includes Palestinians, the Travelling Community,and foreign nationals in Ireland. I am proud of my Irish history. My own grandfather was a member of the I.R.A in Tom Barrys flying column during the war of independence and he took a bullet for it too. However… while I understand my ancestral history of oppression and cruelty I have no interest in hanging on to hatred of the oppressor. If a child is born today, of English blood in London, I refuse to hold him responsible for the actions of his ancestors before he was born. So to anyone who thinks that we are being disrespectful to Republicanism? Well then you may as well call Edward Norton a Racist for the character he portrayed in American History X. [Taken from the Rubber bandits note to Up The Ra]

    So anyway that leads me to the gig the other evening. I went with my girlfriend to see the gig and hopefully have a word with the boys and to tell him how much I love what they re up to. Unlike Naomi, my girl friend didn’t have to wear a tache [to be honest the audience was 50/50 male female ratio] and although the bandits leave little to the imagination i found the show top class irreverent fun that could only offend those devoid of a sense of irony. To cap it all a friend of mine in the pepper introduced me to the lads back stage [apologies if I'm blowing their cover] but I found 2 highly articulate and fully sober [so the slurring wasn t actually the Turberg] young fellas who were thankful for my liking their stuff and extremely funny and charming. So to finish I guess music and art is very much to do with the individuals aesthetic tastes but I do feel I needed to clear up the bits that are possibly saying more about the critic than that to which she is critiquing. Mise le Meas Paul.

  5. Paddy Murphy on June 22, 2009

    Fair play Paul lad.
    The bandits rule, me thinks that Nay thought she wouldn’t be bothered by them but found them quite enjoyable, which they are of course.
    Hopefully they’re keep bringin out bangin and funny tunes on a regular basis so that it dont become staler than phantom’s radio playlists.

  6. Naomi McArdle on June 22, 2009

    Thanks for the informative comment Paul, I appreciate the effort and no doubt other readers will too. To start with the subject of irony, shall we begin with the comic tone of the article in which I acknowlege there’s no serious intent to offend or, ‘DOGS’ and ‘HASH’?

    Now I don’t care THAT much about the song, it just pissed me off a bit. I’m aware of the context of Up The Ra. It’s been discussed at length and is an interesting song but I don’t agree that it’s as altruistic as Rubberbandits claim. Intellect carries a duty to be used wisely and they chose to apply that intellect to mocking the IRA and its supporters, by way of a catchy jingle. Armchair Republicanism is unfortunately one of few pockets of patriotism apparent in Ireland today. Most people can’t even spell Tiocfaidh ar la, let alone express its meaning. There is nothing to be gained from alienating people on the grounds of their football jerseys or miseducation – what matters is Ireland, and despite whatever social failings those people may have, there is a spark of nationalist pride absent amongst many other Irish people. Rather than having a go, why not use that witty spark to reach out to Irish people and make them proud? I’d rather hear/see people encouraged to care for our country, rather than belittled for the worst it stands for.

    Chants like ‘Up The Ra!’ Actually mean something, harking back to a cause people truly believed in. Hearing it far from home, it never failed to remind of what was still going on despite Eurovision wins and soccer matches. I have a strong Republican background and I needed every bit of ammo I could get growing up as a kid in England. I heard the stories and horrors of history and they stayed with me, unlike the rantings of Fuck The Brits or the Queen on the Green. I was suspended from school for a week for refusing to remove my green ribbon, and I’ve known men in Mountjoy who painted Republican murals with those fateful words, rather than focussing on drug addictions and criminal activities.

    The IRA marked the Irish people’s struggle for freedom, not its hatred of the British. The cause of unification fell largely to the wayside when the Republic boomed, and Ireland as we knew it changed forever, an awful lot of history was wiped away with wealth and security. To me it seems that if you took away that section of society who do still place significance in the name of the IRA, no matter how ill-informed they are, we’d be poorer for it. Our national identity has been swallowed whole and now it’s more acceptable to wear American runners or drive Japanese cars than it is to fly a tricolour. To a lot of people, the IRA were just a bunch of thugs with guns. Songs like this just propagate that image. I guess in a way, myself and Rubberbandits are singing from the same sheet, in different accents, and in a trivial way in this small respect, I just don’t like their voices.

  7. Paddy Murphy on June 22, 2009

    ……..ok i;m out….
    not gettin involved in this….
    but i do think the ‘bandits are awesome,
    actually they’re probably my favourite irish act at the minute

  8. Paul c on June 23, 2009

    Hi Naomi. Thanks for the considered reply. I agree with lots of what you re saying about Irish history and the current mentality and I was wrong to assume you werent as aware of what the Bandits were about. I just find what they do really funny and the reason I put up their explanation of the song [and in hindsight I probably had no right to use the piece in my mail] because i thought it was a reasonable and hopeful commentary touching on how a lot of people feel since the peace process.
    However, I do respect your opinion and as I said find lots of common ground in there. Also on reflection and further reading, your original article had a lot more irony than I first had seen so apologies for that too. Mise le Meas. Paul.

  9. Naomi McArdle on June 24, 2009

    Not at all Paul, I’m glad you posted the info as it may lead other readers to the background of the song. Rubberbandits are really funny and it was a good night at the gig – I’ll be going to see them again.
    And it’s really cool when bands write songs that draw in people from all across the spectrum of hearts and minds, be it teachers or psychos. That’s success!

    Thanks for reading man, stick around :)

  10. Cheebah and all that - Limerick, Ireland on June 24, 2009


    True Blood Soldierz have released a new mix tape/cd with 14 tracks. Genre Problem is available for 5 euro from the bands bebo page. Track above, Recession Skank features the guest female vocalists Nadine Smith and Lina. The TBS crew……

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